Publications

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2009
Becker, JJ, Sandwell DT, Smith WHF, Braud J, Binder B, Depner J, Fabre D, Factor J, Ingalls S, Kim SH, Ladner R, Marks K, Nelson S, Pharaoh A, Trimmer R, Von Rosenberg J, Wallace G, Weatherall P.  2009.  Global Bathymetry and Elevation Data at 30 Arc Seconds Resolution: SRTM30_PLUS. Marine Geodesy. 32:355-371.   10.1080/01490410903297766   AbstractWebsite

A new 30-arc second resolution global topography/bathymetry grid (SRTM30_PLUS) has been developed from a wide variety of data sources. Land and ice topography comes from the SRTM30 and ICESat topography, respectively. Ocean bathymetry is based on a new satellite-gravity model where the gravity-to-topography ratio is calibrated using 298 million edited soundings. The main contribution of this study is the compilation and editing of the raw soundings, which come from NOAA, individual scientists, SIO, NGA, JAMSTEC, IFREMER, GEBCO, and NAVOCEANO. The gridded bathymetry is available for ftp download in the same format as the 33 tiles of SRTM30 topography. There are 33 matching tiles of source identification number to convey the provenance of every grid cell. The raw sounding data, converted to a simple common format, are also available for ftp download.

2008
Myer, D, Sandwell D, Brooks B, Foster J, Shimada M.  2008.  Inflation along Kilauea's Southwest Rift Zone in 2006. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 177:418-424.   10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.06.006   AbstractWebsite

We report on InSAR and GPS results showing the first crustal inflation along the southwest rift zone at Kilauea volcano in over 20 years. Two independent interferograms (May 2-August 2, 2006 and June 22-Nov 7, 2006) from the ALOS PALSAR instrument reveal domal uplift located southwest of the main caldera. The uplift is bounded on the northeast by the caldera and follows the southwest rift zone for about 12 km. It is approximately 8 km wide. We use data derived from permanent GPS stations to calibrate the InSAR displacement data and estimate uplift of 7.7 cm during the first interferogram and 8.9 cm during the second with line-of-sight volumes of 2.8 x 10(6) m(3) and 3.0 X 10(6) m(3) respectively. The earthquake record for the periods before, during, and after inflation shows that a swarm of shallow earthquakes (z<5 km) signaled the beginning of the uplift and that elevated levels of shallow seismicity along the rift zones occurred throughout the uplift period. GPS data indicate that the inflation occurred steadily over nine months between mid-January and mid-October, 2006 making injection of a sill unlikely. We attribute the inflation to recharge of a shallow ductile area under the SWRZ. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Sandwell, DT, Myer D, Mellors R, Shimada M, Brooks B, Foster J.  2008.  Accuracy and Resolution of ALOS Interferometry: Vector Deformation Maps of the Father's Day Intrusion at Kilauea. Ieee Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 46:3524-3534.   10.1109/tgrs.2008.2000634   AbstractWebsite

We assess the spatial resolution and phase noise of interferograms made from L-band Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) data and compare these results with corresponding C-band measurements from European Space Agency Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS). Based on cross-spectral analysis of phase gradients, we find that the spatial resolution of ALOS interferograms is 1.3x better than ERS interferograms. The phase noise of ALOS (i.e., line-of-sight precision in the 100-5000-m wavelength band) is 1.6x worse than ERS (3.3 mm versus 2.1 mm). In both cases, the largest source of error is tropospheric phase delay. Vector deformation maps associated with the June 17, 2007 (Father's day) intrusion along the east rift zone of the Kilauea Volcano were recovered using just four ALOS SAR images from two look directions. Comparisons with deformation vectors from 19 continuous GPS sites show rms line-of-site precision of 14 mm and rms azimuth precision (flight direction) of 71 mm. This azimuth precision is at least 4x better than the corresponding measurements made at C-band. Phase coherence is high even in heavily vegetated areas in agreement with previous results. This improved coherence combined with similar or better accuracy and resolution suggests that L-band ALOS will outperform C-band ERS in the recovery of slow crustal deformation.

Becker, JJ, Sandwell DT.  2008.  Global estimates of seafloor slope from single-beam ship soundings. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 113   10.1029/2006jc003879   AbstractWebsite

Rough topography on the ocean floor is a source of ocean mixing which is of interest to both physical oceanography and climate science. Most mixing has been attributed to high slopes of the large-scale structures of the deep ocean floor such as seamounts, continental margins, and mid-ocean ridge axes. In this paper, we show the small-scale but ubiquitous abyssal hills and fracture zones dominate the global map of rough topography. Much of this rugged seafloor occurs in the Southern Ocean on the flanks of the Pacific-Antarctic Rise and Southwest Indian Ridge. We present our results as a global map of the mean slope of the ocean floor, and as a global map of the ocean floor above the M(2) critical slope. We compare our results to multibeam and satellite bathymetry data to show that satellite bathymetry is not a valid proxy for multibeam measurements, but edited single-beam sonar data are adequate to provide a global perspective on features with horizontal wavelengths as small as 2 km.

Barbot, S, Fialko Y, Sandwell D.  2008.  Effect of a compliant fault zone on the inferred earthquake slip distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 113   10.1029/2007jb005256   AbstractWebsite

We present a new semi-analytic method to evaluate the deformation due to a screw dislocation in arbitrarily heterogeneous and/or anisotropic elastic half plane. The method employs integral transformations to reduce the governing partial differential equations to the integral Fredholm equation of the second kind. Dislocation sources, as well as spatial perturbations in the elastic properties are modeled using equivalent body forces. The solution to the Fredholm equation is obtained in the Fourier domain using a method of successive over-relaxation, and is mapped into the spatial domain using the inverse Fast Fourier Transform. We apply this method to investigate the effect of a soft damage zone around an earthquake fault on the co-seismic displacement field, and on the earthquake slip distribution inferred from inversions of geodetic data. In the presence of a kilometer-wide damage zone with a reduction of the effective shear modulus of a factor of 2, inversions that assume a laterally homogeneous model tend to underestimate the amount of slip in the middle of the seismogenic layer by as much as 20%. This bias may accentuate the inferred maxima in the seismic moment release at depth between 3-6 km suggested by previous studies of large strike-slip earthquakes.

Brooks, BA, Foster J, Sandwell D, Wolfe CJ, Okubo P, Poland M, Myer D.  2008.  Magmatically triggered slow slip at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Science. 321:1177-1177.   10.1126/science.1159007   AbstractWebsite

We demonstrate that a recent dike intrusion probably triggered a slow fault-slip event (SSE) on Kilauea volcano's mobile south flank. Our analysis combined models of Advanced Land Observing Satellite interferometric dike-intrusion displacement maps with continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) displacement vectors to show that deformation nearly identical to four previous SSEs at Kilauea occurred at far-field sites shortly after the intrusion. We model stress changes because of both secular deformation and the intrusion and find that both would increase the Coulomb failure stress on possible SSE slip surfaces by roughly the same amount. These results, in concert with the observation that none of the previous SSEs at Kilauea was directly preceded by intrusions but rather occurred during times of normal background deformation, suggest that both extrinsic (intrusion-triggering) and intrinsic (secular fault creep) fault processes can lead to SSEs.

2007
Luttrell, K, Sandwell D, Smith-Konter B, Bills B, Bock Y.  2007.  Modulation of the earthquake cycle at the southern San Andreas fault by lake loading. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112   10.1029/2006jb004752   AbstractWebsite

Changes in the level of ancient Lake Cahuilla over the last 1500 years in the Salton Trough alter the state of stress by bending the lithosphere in response to the applied lake load and by varying the pore pressure magnitude within the crust. The recurrence interval of the lake is similar to the recurrence interval of rupture on the southern San Andreas and San Jacinto faults, both of which are partially covered by the lake at its highstand. Furthermore, four of the last five ruptures on the southern San Andreas fault have occurred near a time of substantial lake level change. We investigate the effect of Coulomb stress perturbations on local faults due to changing level of Lake Cahuilla to determine a possible role for the lake in affecting the timing of fault rupture. Coulomb stress is calculated with a three-dimensional model of an elastic plate overlying a viscoelastic half-space. Plate thickness and half-space relaxation time are adjusted to match observed vertical deformation since the last lake highstand. The lake cycle causes positive and negative Coulomb stress perturbations of 0.2-0.6 MPa on the southern San Andreas within the lake and 0.1-0.2 MPa on the southern San Andreas outside the lake. These Coulomb stress perturbations are comparable to stress magnitudes known to have triggered events at other faults along the North America-Pacific plate boundary.

Wdowinski, S, Smith-Konter B, Bock Y, Sandwell D.  2007.  Diffuse interseismic deformation across the Pacific-North America plate boundary. Geology. 35:311-314.   10.1130/g22938a.1   AbstractWebsite

Crustal movements and deformation within the diffuse Pacific-North America (Pa-NA) plate boundary are dominated by the right-lateral motion between the two plates. By using the Pa-NA pole of rotation (PoR) spherical coordinate system, we decompose observed crustal movements into parallel and normal components to the Pa-NA plate motion. We transformed the 840 velocity vectors of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) 3.0 velocity field into the Pa-NA PoR system in order to characterize the interseismic velocity across the plate boundary. Our results show that despite the very different deformation styles occurring across the San Andreas fault, the fault trace follows the half plate motion contour. Deviation occurs in the southern section, where the half motion contour correlates with the San Jacinto and Imperial fault segments. Our analysis yields interesting asymmetric patterns in both parallel and normal components. The parallel component shows asymmetrical velocity gradients across the San Andreas fault, and the normal component indicates compression southwest of the Big Bend, but not northeastward. The observations are compared with viscoelastic modeling results, which show a similar velocity field. The main disagreements between the observations and the model are in a narrow band along the San Andreas fault and in the Mojave block, suggesting that crustal heterogeneities and additional unmodeled fault segments should be considered in future models.

Sandwell, D.  2007.  Ocean Bathymetry and Plate Tectonics. Our changing planet : the view from space. ( King MD, Parkinson CL, Partington KC, Williams RG, Eds.).:149-152., Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract

Examines what orbital imagery tells us about the atmosphere, land, ocean, and polar ice caps of our planet and the ways that it changes naturally, and in response to human activity.

Sandwell, D, Smith B.  2007.  The San Andreas Fault: Adjustments in the Earth's Crust. Our changing planet : the view from space. ( King MD, Parkinson CL, Partington KC, Williams RG, Eds.).:94-96., Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract

Examines what orbital imagery tells us about the atmosphere, land, ocean, and polar ice caps of our planet and the ways that it changes naturally, and in response to human activity.

2006
Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF, Gille S, Kappel E, Jayne S, Soofi K, Coakley B, Geli L.  2006.  Bathymetry from space: Rationale and requirements for a new, high-resolution altimetric mission. Comptes Rendus Geoscience. 338:1049-1062.   10.1016/j.crte.2006.05.014   AbstractWebsite

Bathymetry is foundational data, providing basic infrastructure for scientific, economic, educational, managerial, and political work. Applications as diverse as tsunami hazard assessment, communications cable and pipeline route planning, resource exploration, habitat management, and territorial claims under the Law of the Sea all require reliable bathymetric maps to be available on demand. Fundamental Earth science questions, such as what controls seafloor shape and how seafloor shape influences global climate, also cannot be answered without bathymetric maps having globally uniform detail. Current bathymetric, charts are inadequate for many of these applications because only a small fraction of the seafloor has been surveyed. Modern multibeam echosounders provide the best resolution, but it would take more than 200 ship-years and billions of dollars to complete the job. The seafloor topography can be charted globally, in five years, and at a cost under $100M. A radar altimeter mounted on an orbiting spacecraft can measure slight variations in ocean surface height, which reflect variations in the pull of gravity caused by seafloor topography. A new satellite altimeter mission, optimized to map the deep ocean bathymetry and gravity field, will provide a global map of the world's deep oceans at a resolution of 6-9 kin. This resolution threshold is critical for a large number of basic science and practical applications, including: determining the effects of bathymetry and seafloor roughness on ocean circulation, mixing, climate, and biological communities, habitats, and mobility; understanding the geologic processes responsible for ocean floor features unexplained by simple plate tectonics, such as abyssal hills, seamounts, microplates, and propagating rifts;. improving tsunami hazard forecast accuracy by mapping the deep-ocean topography that steers tsunami wave energy; mapping the marine gravity field to improve inertial navigation and provide homogeneous coverage of continental margins; providing bathymetric maps for numerous other practical applications, including reconnaissance for submarine cable and pipeline routes, improving tide models, and assessing potential territorial claims to the seabed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Because ocean bathymetry is a fundamental measurement of our planet, there is a broad spectrum of interest from government, the research community, industry, and the general public. Mission requirements. The resolution of the altimetry technique is limited by physical law, not instrument capability. Everything that can be mapped from space can be achieved now, and there is no gain in waiting for technological advances. Mission requirements for Bathymetry from Space are much less stringent and less costly than typical physical oceanography missions. Long-term sea-surface height accuracy is not needed; the fundamental measurement is the slope of the ocean surface to an accuracy of similar to 1 prad (1 mm km(-1)). The main mission requirements are: improved range precision (a factor of two or more improvement in altimeter range precision with respect to current altimeters is needed to reduce the noise due to ocean waves); - fine cross-track spacing and long mission duration (a ground track spacing of 6 km or less is required. A six-year mission would reduce the error by another factor of two); moderate inclination (existing satellite altimeters have relatively high orbital inclinations, thus their resolution of east-west components of ocean slope is poor at low latitudes. The new mission should have an orbital inclination close to 60 degrees or 120 degrees so as to resolve north-south and east-west components almost equally while still covering nearly all the world's ocean area); near-shore tracking (for applications near coastlines, the ability of the instrument to track the ocean surface close to shore, and acquire the surface soon after leaving land, is desirable).

Wei, M, Sandwell D.  2006.  Estimates of heat flow from Cenozoic seafloor using global depth and age data. Tectonophysics. 417:325-335.   10.1016/j.tecto.2006.02.004   AbstractWebsite

The total heat output of the Earth constrains models of mantle and core dynamics. Previously published estimates (42-44 TW) have recently been questioned because the measured conductive heat flow on young oceanic lithosphere is about a factor of 2 less than the expected heat flow based on half-space cooling models. Taking the conductive ocean heat flow values at face value reduces the global heat flow from 44 to 31 TW, which has major implications for geodynamics and Earth history. To help resolve this issue, we develop a new method of estimating total oceanic heat flow from depth and age data. The overall elevation of the global ridge system, relative to the deep ocean basins, provides an independent estimate of the total heat content of the lithosphere. Heat flow is proportional to the measured subsidence rate times the heat capacity divided by the thermal expansion coefficient. The largest uncertainty in this method is due to uncertainties in the thermal expansion coefficient and heat capacity. Scalar subsidence rate is computed from gradients of depth and age grids. The method cannot be applied over very young seafloor (< 3 Ma) where age gradient is discontinuous and the assumption of isostasy is invalid. Between 3 and 66 Ma, the new estimates are in agreement with half-space cooling model. Our rnodel-independent estimate of the total heat output of Cenozoic seafloor is 18.6 to 20.5 TW, which leads to a global output of 42 to 44 TW in agreement with previous studies. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Luttrell, K, Sandwell D.  2006.  Strength of the lithosphere of the Galilean satellites. Icarus. 183:159-167.   10.1016/j.icarus.2006.01.015   AbstractWebsite

Several approaches have been used to estimate the ice shell thickness on Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa. Here we develop a method for placing a strict lower bound on the thickness of the strong part of the shell (lithosphere) using measurements of topography. The minimal assumptions are that the strength of faults in the brittle lithosphere is controlled by lithostatic pressure according to Byerlee's law and the shell has relatively uniform density and thickness. Under these conditions, the topography of the ice provides a direct measure of the bending moment in the lithosphere. This topographic bending moment Must be less than the saturation bending moment of the yield strength envelope derived front Byerlee's law. The model predicts that the topographic amplitude spectrum decreases as the square of the topographic wavelength. This explains why Europa is rugged at shorter wavelengths ( similar to 10 km) but extremely smooth, and perhaps conforming to an equipotential Surface, at longer wavelengths ( > 100 km). Previously compiled data on impact crater depth and diameter [Schenk, P.M., 2002. Nature 417, 419-421] on Europa show good agreement with the spectral decrease predicted by the model and require a lithosphere thicker than 2.5 km. A more realistic model, including a ductile lower lithosphere. requires a thickness greater than 3.5 km. Future measurements of topography in the 10-100 km wavelength hand will provide tight constraints on lithospheric strength. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All riahts reserved.

Smith, BR, Sandwell DT.  2006.  A model of the earthquake cycle along the San Andreas Fault System for the past 1000 years. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 111   10.1029/2005jb003703   AbstractWebsite

[1] We simulate 1000 years of the earthquake cycle along the San Andreas Fault System by convolving best estimates of interseismic and coseismic slip with the Green's function for a point dislocation in an elastic plate overlying a viscoelastic half-space. Interseismic slip rate is based on long-term geological estimates while fault locking depths are derived from horizontal GPS measurements. Coseismic and postseismic deformation is modeled using 70 earthquake ruptures, compiled from both historical data and paleoseismic data. This time-dependent velocity model is compared with 290 present-day geodetic velocity vectors to place bounds on elastic plate thickness and viscosity of the underlying substrate. Best fit models (RMS residual of 2.46 mm/yr) require an elastic plate thickness greater than 60 km and a substrate viscosity between 2 x 10(18) and 5 x 10(19) Pa s. These results highlight the need for vertical velocity measurements developed over long time spans (> 20 years). Our numerical models are also used to investigate the 1000-year evolution of Coulomb stress. Stress is largely independent of assumed rheology, but is very sensitive to the slip history on each fault segment. As expected, present-day Coulomb stress is high along the entire southern San Andreas because there have been no major earthquakes over the past 150 - 300 years. Animations S1 and S2 of the time evolution of vector displacement and Coulomb stress are available as auxiliary material.

Watts, AB, Sandwell DT, Smith WHF, Wessel P.  2006.  Global gravity, bathymetry, and the distribution of submarine volcanism through space and time. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 111   10.1029/2005jb004083   AbstractWebsite

[ 1] The seafloor is characterized by numerous seamounts and oceanic islands which are mainly volcanic in origin. Relatively few of these features (< similar to 0.1%), however, have been dated, and so little is known about their tectonic setting. One parameter that is sensitive to whether a seamount formed on, near, or far from a mid-ocean ridge is the elastic thickness, T(e), which is a proxy for the long-term strength of the lithosphere. Most previous studies are based on using the bathymetry to calculate the gravity anomaly for different values of T(e) and then comparing the calculated and observed gravity anomaly. The problem with such an approach is that bathymetry data are usually limited to single-beam echo sounder data acquired along a ship track and these data are too sparse to define seamount shape. We therefore use the satellite-derived gravity anomaly to predict the bathymetry for different values of T(e). By comparing the predicted bathymetry to actual shipboard soundings in the vicinity of each locality in the Wessel global seamount database, we have obtained 9758 T(e) estimates from a wide range of submarine volcanic features in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Comparisons where there are previous estimates show that bathymetric prediction is a robust way to estimate T(e) and its upper and lower bounds. T(e) at sites where there is both a sample and crustal age show considerable scatter, however, and there is no simple relationship between T(e) and age. Nevertheless, we are able to tentatively assign a tectonic setting to each T(e) estimate. The most striking results are in the Pacific Ocean where a broad swath of "on-ridge'' volcanism extends from the Foundation seamounts and Ducie Island/Easter Island ridge in the southeast, across the equator, to the Shatsky and Hess rises in the northwest. Interspersed among the on-ridge volcanism are "flank ridge'' and "off-ridge'' features. The Indian and Atlantic oceans also show a mix of tectonic settings. Off-ridge volcanism dominates in the eastern North Atlantic and northeast Indian oceans, while flank ridge volcanism dominates the northeastern Indian and western south Atlantic oceans. We have been unable to assign the flank ridge and off-ridge estimates an age, but the on-ridge estimates generally reflect, we believe, the age of the underlying oceanic crust. We estimate the volume of on-ridge volcanism to be similar to 1.1 x 10(6) km(3) which implies a mean seamount addition rate of similar to 0.007 km(3) yr(-1). Rates appear to have varied through geological time, reaching their peak during the Late/Early Cretaceous and then declining to the present-day.

2005
Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  2005.  Retracking ERS-1 altimeter waveforms for optimal gravity field recovery. Geophysical Journal International. 163:79-89.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02724.x   AbstractWebsite

We have reprocessed ERS-1 radar altimeter waveforms using an algorithm designed to minimize sea surface slope error and decouple it from significant wave height (SWH) error. Standard waveform retracking estimates three parameters-arrival time, SWH and amplitude. We show that errors in retracked estimates of arrival time and SWH are inherently correlated because of the noise characteristics of the returned waveform. This suggests that some of what is called 'sea state bias' in the literature may be caused by correlated errors rather than true electromagnetic or skewness bias. We have developed a retracking algorithm that reduces this error correlation and makes the resolution of sea surface slope signals independent of sea state. The main assumption is that the SWH varies smoothly along the satellite track over wavelengths of 90 km. This approach reduces the rms error in sea surface slope to only 62 per cent of that of standard retracking methods. While our method is optimized for gravity field recovery, it may also improve the resolution of sea surface height signals of interest to physical oceanographers.

Fialko, Y, Sandwell D, Simons M, Rosen P.  2005.  Three-dimensional deformation caused by the Bam, Iran, earthquake and the origin of shallow slip deficit. Nature. 435:295-299.   10.1038/nature03425   AbstractWebsite

Our understanding of the earthquake process requires detailed insights into how the tectonic stresses are accumulated and released on seismogenic faults. We derive the full vector displacement field due to the Bam, Iran, earthquake of moment magnitude 6.5 using radar data from the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency. Analysis of surface deformation indicates that most of the seismic moment release along the 20-km-long strike-slip rupture occurred at a shallow depth of 4 - 5 km, yet the rupture did not break the surface. The Bam event may therefore represent an end-member case of the 'shallow slip deficit' model, which postulates that coseismic slip in the uppermost crust is systematically less than that at seismogenic depths ( 4 - 10 km). The InSAR-derived surface displacement data from the Bam and other large shallow earthquakes suggest that the uppermost section of the seismogenic crust around young and developing faults may undergo a distributed failure in the interseismic period, thereby accumulating little elastic strain.

Sandwell, DT, Anderson D, Wessel P.  2005.  Plates, plumes, and paradigms. Plates, plumes, and paradigms. ( Foulger GR, Natland JH, Presnall DC, Anderson DL, Eds.).:1-10., Boulder, Colo.: Geological Society of America Abstract
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2004
Sandwell, D, Fialko Y.  2004.  Warping and cracking of the Pacific plate by thermal contraction. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2004jb003091   AbstractWebsite

Lineaments in the gravity field and associated chains of volcanic ridges are widespread on the Pacific plate but are not yet explained by plate tectonics. Recent studies have proposed that they are warps and cracks in the plate caused by uneven thermal contraction of the cooling lithosphere. We show that the large thermoelastic stress produced by top-down cooling is optimally released by lithospheric flexure between regularly spaced parallel cracks. Both the crack spacing and approximate gravity amplitude are predicted by elastic plate theory and variational principle. Cracks along the troughs of the gravity lineaments provide conduits for the generation of volcanic ridges in agreement with new observations from satellite-derived gravity. Our model suggests that gravity lineaments are a natural consequence of lithospheric cooling so that convective rolls or mantle plumes are not required.

Sandwell, D, Rosen P, Moore W, Gurrola E.  2004.  Radar interferometry for measuring tidal strains across cracks on Europa. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 109   10.1029/2004je002276   AbstractWebsite

A major uncertainty in understanding the interaction between the surface of Europa and its ocean below is the present-day activity of fractures. Using well-constrained models for tidal strain and a force balance in a cracked shell, we estimate the shear and normal displacement of cracks that penetrate upward from the base of the shell. If more than half of the plate is fractured, then surface displacements having amplitudes of 3 to 30 cm will be localized in a band 1 to 100 km from the crack. Plate spreading will occur if more than similar to85% of the plate is fractured. The pattern of deformation is sensitive to both the percentage of plate that is cracked and the total thickness of the shell. Repeat-pass radar interferometry could easily detect and map the activity of the cracks during a short experiment from a variety of suitable orbits with repeating ground tracks.

Smith, B, Sandwell D.  2004.  A three-dimensional semianalytic viscoelastic model for time-dependent analyses of the earthquake cycle. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2004jb003185   AbstractWebsite

[ 1] Exploring the earthquake cycle for large, complex tectonic boundaries that deform over thousands of years requires the development of sophisticated and efficient models. In this paper we introduce a semianalytic three-dimensional (3-D) linear viscoelastic Maxwell model that is developed in the Fourier domain to exploit the computational advantages of the convolution theorem. A new aspect of this model is an analytic solution for the surface loading of an elastic plate overlying a viscoelastic half-space. When fully implemented, the model simulates ( 1) interseismic stress accumulation on the upper locked portion of faults, ( 2) repeated earthquakes on prescribed fault segments, and ( 3) the viscoelastic response of the asthenosphere beneath the plate following episodic ruptures. We verify both the analytic solution and computer code through a variety of 2-D and 3-D tests and examples. On the basis of the methodology presented here, it is now possible to explore thousands of years of the earthquake cycle along geometrically complex 3-D fault systems.

2003
Smith, B, Sandwell D.  2003.  Accuracy and resolution of shuttle radar topography mission data. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2002gl016643   AbstractWebsite

[1] We assess the accuracy and resolution of topography data provided by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) through spectral comparisons with the National Elevation Dataset (NED) and a high-resolution laser data set of the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake rupture. We find that SRTM and the NED are coherent for wavelengths greater than 200 m, however the spatial resolution of the NED data is superior to the SRTM data for wavelengths shorter than 350 m, likely due to the application of a boxcar filter applied during final SRTM processing stages. From these results, a low-pass filter/decimation algorithm can be designed in order to expedite large-area SRTM applications.

Smith, B, Sandwell D.  2003.  Coulomb stress accumulation along the San Andreas Fault system. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 108   10.1029/2002jb002136   AbstractWebsite

[1] Stress accumulation rates along the primary segments of the San Andreas Fault system are computed using a three-dimensional (3-D) elastic half-space model with realistic fault geometry. The model is developed in the Fourier domain by solving for the response of an elastic half-space due to a point vector body force and analytically integrating the force from a locking depth to infinite depth. This approach is then applied to the San Andreas Fault system using published slip rates along 18 major fault strands of the fault zone. GPS-derived horizontal velocity measurements spanning the entire 1700 x 200 km region are then used to solve for apparent locking depth along each primary fault segment. This simple model fits remarkably well (2.43 mm/yr RMS misfit), although some discrepancies occur in the Eastern California Shear Zone. The model also predicts vertical uplift and subsidence rates that are in agreement with independent geologic and geodetic estimates. In addition, shear and normal stresses along the major fault strands are used to compute Coulomb stress accumulation rate. As a result, we find earthquake recurrence intervals along the San Andreas Fault system to be inversely proportional to Coulomb stress accumulation rate, in agreement with typical coseismic stress drops of 1-10 MPa. This 3-D deformation model can ultimately be extended to include both time-dependent forcing and viscoelastic response.

Lyons, S, Sandwell D.  2003.  Fault creep along the southern San Andreas from interferometric synthetic aperture radar, permanent scatterers, and stacking. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 108   10.1029/2002jb001831   AbstractWebsite

[1] Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) provides a practical means of mapping creep along major strike-slip faults. The small amplitude of the creep signal (<10 mm/yr), combined with its short wavelength, makes it difficult to extract from long time span interferograms, especially in agricultural or heavily vegetated areas. We utilize two approaches to extract the fault creep signal from 37 ERS SAR images along the southern San Andreas Fault. First, amplitude stacking is utilized to identify permanent scatterers, which are then used to weight the interferogram prior to spatial filtering. This weighting improves correlation and also provides a mask for poorly correlated areas. Second, the unwrapped phase is stacked to reduce tropospheric and other short-wavelength noise. This combined processing enables us to recover the near-field (&SIM;200 m) slip signal across the fault due to shallow creep. Displacement maps from 60 interferograms reveal a diffuse secular strain buildup, punctuated by localized interseismic creep of 4-6 mm/yr line of sight (LOS, 12-18 mm/yr horizontal). With the exception of Durmid Hill, this entire segment of the southern San Andreas experienced right-lateral triggered slip of up to 10 cm during the 3.5-year period spanning the 1992 Landers earthquake. The deformation change following the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake was much smaller (<1 cm) and broader than for the Landers event. Profiles across the fault during the interseismic phase show peak-to-trough amplitude ranging from 15 to 25 mm/yr (horizontal component) and the minimum misfit models show a range of creeping/locking depth values that fit the data.